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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 14, 2013 9:00am-12:01pm EDT

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the author part of that is a pretty small percentage. >> do you know the numbers of? >> i do not know that. this is about 5% of total air force research is in the nuclear enterprise. >> one thing want to talk about his unmanned aircraft systems. i think it's been talked about i think mr. moran has mentioned it, the air force was slow in catching that technology as the unmanned vehicles came aboard. i know that today certainly were trying to catch up. now we have this proliferation of unmanned aircraft systems throughout the dod that air force doesn't necessarily control, the army or other agencies. but getting to the reapers for a second, air force has requested funds to purchase 12 m-9 reapers, in fy '14 and i'm glad to see continuedport othis
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program. but the efficient production rate as i understand it it's about 24 aircraft per year to maintain the lowest cost her unit. and i know that there's budget considerations, and but the per unit cost obviously on the aircraft -- inefficiencies of the system. also want to talk about the training units which are critical to the air force. and the so-called ftu's, or costly requirements of personal costs. we have existing facilities, and i understand that the air force is looking to expand those facilities throughout the united states. does it make more sense to use of existing facilities, existing capital session you already have rather than expanding the facilities to other locations?
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>> yes, sir. i know of no plans to expand reaper training. >> we understand that you're looking at expanding that beyond, -- [inaudible] beyond the california, arizona, texas and ohio. these existing aircraft, i understand that in nine aircraft -- [inaudible] >> sir, our and 10 overtime is replacing to the maximum extent as possible to a much more capable platform but we don't intend to stand up new flying training units in all those blessed. those are operational units that are controlling aircraft are flying operational activity around the world but they are will not be additional training. >> all right, thank you.
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>> ms. mccollum. >> thank you, mr. chair. secretary donley, many have been here in hearings all week on the other side of the capital and in the policy committee, that military branch have to work in the military until crisis. we've been told over the years that you are, that navy saw 32% increase in the last report that was published. the marines had a 30% increase. air force had a 33% increase the army showed only a 16% -- it should be 60% decrease. so maybe the army figured it out and made we should me paying for all the different programs assault is assault. rape is rape. we are not tolerating it. so one of the things that i've been speaking to his
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spokesperson, the shooting, i wanted to catch you before working with some of the other of our colleagues who have been working on this to put together a special committee. this is going to stop. and to the air force, your best isn't good enough. when i was appointing young woman to the military academy 12 years ago, i gave them my personal cell phone number. and said, you don't have to take this. you call me. i've got your back. you don't have to call your mother. you don't have to report. you call me. but all the women who are in my congressional district in minnesota, and around this country, who enlisted, they didn't have my cell phone number. they didn't have anybody tell them you don't have to tolerate this. so we have lackland, and now we
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have, what happens here. so you talk about changing a culture, and i'm ready for my new times article, march 11. mr. hagel said he would review the decision by lieutenant general greg franklin, the commander of the third air force to dismiss the sexual assault conviction of lieutenant colonel. they couldn't even change it at the top? that a court martial would come down? that's pretty serious. and it got overturned. what did that say to women who actually did report and go all the way through as victims and what did that say to the jury who at the tough job of really weighing the evidence and coming down on one of their own. stroke of the pen. doesn't count. doesn't matter.
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so i've a question for you. the way i understand things, and i'm not an attorney. the air force spokesman confirmed that the air force can bring its own case, irregardless of what arlington county does, and god bless them for taking up the charge, but the secretary of the air force must approve a dual prosecution and cannot do so and don't after the case concludes. so that means if virginia finds him guilty, my question to you is, are you going to charge him? because the buck stops somepla someplace. >> it does, and in cases like this we will wait for the local jurisdiction to reach its conclusion and then we will
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figure out what the air force can and should proceed with separately. spent i do see that he was found guilty. so let's take it away from them. let's not talk about this case in particular. if civilian courts have the opportunity to perceive some of these, i'm telling them, don't turn it over. it's going to be up to the secretaries to say, if a court of law, if a jury found his person guilty, we are going to do the dual-track and hold them accountable. because this is, i've said this before. everybody is victimized by this. the woman has been assaulted or the man who's been assaulted are the primary victims. but everybody who wears the uniform, every veteran in this country is victimized by this. so,
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wrapping up. you know, i don't want to spend more time. we've spent the time we need discussing this. i've many, many other questions about this massive budget to talk about. but if we don't get this right, nothing we do with equipment matters. because we are saying you're not even safe to be enlisted in the united states military. and i spoke with military leaders that are here on the war college exchange and they were asking me about this. and they're looking to us for leadership. so, mr. chair, and ms. granger appeared to be interested in working on some of us. i have a draft ready to go. i will share with you and others today. mr. chair, whether we do it as -- i think enough time has been spent on this and the
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appropriations that go to this programs that don't work, we have an oversight response authority. you have been very, very supportive of this issue and i look forward to the briefing of your hearing in the upcoming days. thank you. >> thank you, gentlelady. mr. bonner. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in essence of time understand we may be voting in the next few minutes. i will associate my comments with mr. moran and others about -- jenne, with all due respect there are some additional questions that we've got, that we have not gotten answers from. i will also associate my comments with mr. crenshaw about space launch and have additional questions on that as well. i am going to ask a question on tinker, because it is something that is critically important special since we just lost one, and lost the crew on the kc-135. but before i go there i would like to ask, you are giving us
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information, i asked the army yesterday for a record of sexual sol since 1992. if we could see, to try to glean some additional information about whether there's a tendency when they are searching our whether we are drawing down or what some additional information, not just for the last decade we've been in afghanistan and iraq, but really the last 20 years, to try to get some additional information. because we are trying to come up with some ideas, some constructive suggestions to you that maybe we can get something from that. i would like to, though, associate this one comment about sexual assault, ms. granger, ms. mccollum, ms. kaptur, the chairman and the ranking member, many have spoken about this, but it does become personal because
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i'm going to be nominating one of my daughters very best friends. she's going to be appointed to the air force academy, and i'm having dinner with her and my family on monday night but i want to be able to look her parents in the eye, i want to be able to look her in the eye, and i want to let them know that the highest levels are not -- province were being discussing are not going to be ignored. it is -- so a lot has been said and we look forward to working with you on this. >> mr. secretary, discrepancy between the contractors
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estimates and the current governments estimates disclosed but $500 million. even though the program was operating under a fixed price develop and contract, and the contractor we understand will have to absorb over run. does this committee have any reason to be concerned about the growing discrepancy? and secondly, have you made any significant engineering changes to the aircraft or any systems at this time? >> to answer your second question first, the answer is no. i'm required to sign a report to congress on a regular basis on the subject, and it's been consistent over the last couple of years, no engineering changes have been made. to the program to which you referred. it is true that the contractors, the estimated completion is above the ceiling that we have set for the program, but it is a
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fixed price contract. so the taxpayers exposure is limited at $4.9 billion, and anything above that is on the contractor. we know of no schedule concerns at this point on the program, and so far it seems to be on track. >> and we don't anticipate any additional issues as relates to sequestration having an impact on getting the badly needed planes? >> the main thing for the air force is to make sure that the program stays funded, and at the levels necessary to support the contractocontract that we have , and a schedule that we've agreed to. and that the air force has the support of congress, we will be able to do that. >> mr. chairman, i will yield back since with the other members who would like to take it up. >> mr. kroll. >> thank you, mr. chairman and gentlemen, thank you for your service.
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an here. i had not intended say anything honest about the sexual assault issue because i knew it's going to be able the and fully covered why others, and probably more knowledgeably. but i do want to add just one thing. my dad was a career noncommissioned officer in the united states air force. my brother served very honorably in the vietnam era in the air force, and my favorite first cousin in the world just retired after 20 odd years in united states air force as a lieutenant colonel, and you know, saw, serve in both afghanistan and iraq. and i know what kind of guy those three people are. and they wouldn't tolerate this. they would look on his, and they do look on this as a reflection on them. they were very proud of their service and very proud to be associated with the air force. so when you hear what
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ms. granger, ms. mccollum and my good friend from alabama, and of the people have said, they are speaking for those gentlemen, too, and i think ms. granger said congress will probably do something. it may not be the right thing but it will, it will. so, please, take this -- i know both of you do. look, i don't have any doubt about either one of you, but you just cannot, we cannot collectively, this committee cannot, this congress cannot allow this sort of behavior across the services, certainly not unique to the air force. we see a time and time again. it's got to change, and i would suggest, i was impressed by what you said about your missile crew and the commander and actions that he took. i mean, some people need to either get kicked out or we need to do something. i mean, i think we have almost got too much judicial process year for the perpetrators and not nearly enough for the victim. and if there have to be some,
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you know, examples made, then they just need to get made. because it's just not tolerable. to be in this situation. i don't know if you want to respond if you want, but again, i don't doubt your sincerity, where you're coming from on this. >> i would like to just briefly respond. the young men and women in our air force have been entrusted to the secretary and i. nobody, nobody cares more about this than we do. there's no magic that can solve this problem. it's going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of new ideas, a lot of partnership with the congress, with outside agencies and experts who deal in this area. we are trying to do as much of that in all those areas as again and i would be more than happy to discuss the details with any member would like to know more. but we understand the problem. we agree with everything you said. >> i appreciate that, and again, i have a lot of confidence. my dad was, actually joined the old army air corps and lived
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through the integration of the services committee said it was the best thing that he ever saw happen in his se. and he was always very proud of the military for having led in that regard when the rest of the country was often slow in dealing with this. this is that kind of situation, probably not fair to you, but, because it's not unique to military services. we have this problem across the board. we just ended the violence against women act up here, and it happens a lot, but, you know, i guess because you guys, and ladies, are our brightest and our best, we expect you to figure out a way. i think you will have incredible support, but you do end up being held to higher standing by else. because come to. i know you will again. this one really is a big, big deal for the country. and long-term for the service because it's so counter to what the value structure of the men
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and women you lead, 99 out of 100 they are, what they stand for. so anyway, let me move to something else, if i may. i want to ask some things about the civilian workforce, and in full disclosure, certainly, i've got a very large civilian workforce in my district, tinker air force base. and, obviously, they're concerned about the furlough situation and under have to deal with sequestered. i am concerned and what your thoughts, i don't, we talked about his a little bit with the secretary, who i admire tremendously. he talked about, we want to be fair to everybody. and i understand that, too, but i don't think all civilian work is of comparable importance, quality as you wrestle with this. and particularly, my good friend from alabama talked about -- we maintain the kc-135 fleet. my dad spent 20 years, he spent
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several years working on them in the late '50s and early 60s in the air force and then work on them for another 20 at tinker as my brother did and they're still coming through. they are 50 year old airplanes in most cases. so, and we do, they are funded differently, that is -- there are more resources. so i would just ask, as you rustle with his tough problem, it certainly wasn't of your making, please focus on making sure that those aircraft get the kind of attention that they need. i wish we didn't have a 50 year old tanker fleet. although we're awfully proud we can keep planes that age going in combat conditions. it tells you something about the quality of the workforce, both uniformed and nonuniform out there at the installation. they are remarkable people in terms of what they accomplished. but what are you doing, again, if all things are not equal, you have to make some value
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judgments here as to what you keep going, just to make sure we don't have accidents or we don't have lost capability. >> well, mr. cole, fif all, the decision on civilian furloughs has not yet been made. this is at the secretaries level. is in the process of making that decision. we have had extensive discussion in the department about the issues that you have raised. we already know that there's impact on weapon systems sustainment from sequestration, and there's an impact already to which i referred, which involves the delay and creation of a backlog, if you will, in repair for probably 60 aircraft and 35 engines, is roughly the current estimate. but this is complex work. so we know that there's an impact on infactions and on weapon system sustainment from the.
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there is the issue of the working capital fund and its fiscal health and how to keep it solvent through this period. and then there is the additional issue of the civilian workforce management challenges on top of that. the issue of furloughs and how that will be managed. so all those, those three things, weapon system sustained, working capital fund and furloughs are being addressed collectively and we're doing our best to minimize the impacts and to maximize the readiness that we can get out of our double workforce with the funds available. >> again, i know that you are and i appreciate the fact that the furloughs came down seven days. i'm not telling you anything i didn't tell the secretary of defense, i would hope again, it is admiral to want to be perfectly fair and treat every employ the same way. but i think where we can, particularly if there's an issue
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of safety and maintenance of assets here, that some discrimination might be appropriate in making sure. so i know you'll continue to work to try to minimize those furlough days. i know this committee didn't like sequestration anymore than you did. i think most of this committee would hope we can arrive at some larger deal, and i suspect that people on both sides of the aisle around this are the kind of people who tend to vote for things like that to make them happen. but again, we have given you a tough task. please give it a lot of care and attention because i don't want airplanes that don't fly, let alone airplanes that come down with crews in them. and we want to give maintain those assets with the kind of work it takes to do it. so thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. you have been very generous. >> thank you, mr. cole. before i yield to mr. owens, i was just say the vote that is on
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and so is the camp amendment. then they will be following that vote the will be 10 minutes of debate on the motion to recommit, and the next vote will be on that motion to recommit. and then a third vote will be final passage which will be a five minute boat, and then the possible of a fourth vote of approval of the journal. and mr. owens, i will be happy to yield to you now, sir. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i wish that ms. mccollum was here. as a former jack officer, -- jack officer, the rag that i was on active duty provided in the event of a conviction of a lieutenant colonel that he would be subject to an administrative discharge proceeding. and i think it was unfortunate when that discussion was going on that that wasn't shared with her, because i think it may have given her some for the basis for understanding the process that you're going through relative to
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the potential for dual prosecution versus allowing the prosecution to proceed in the civil arena followed by an administrative action in the military. so it's my understand, do those rules still exist? >> i believe they do. >> and depending upon the degree of the conviction, misdemeanor, felony, then that would move, that is a potential that you could move to eliminate that officer from the military? >> well, that is decision that would be initially looked at by the wing commander who supervises him and has ucmj responsibility in his chain. that's the 11th wing, and they are getting legal counsel, of course, and we will let the process play out. >> thank you. now to the business actually at
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requests. it's very clear when you look at this that you're looking for a relatively marginal increase, about 2%. however, sequestration continues into the next year, the next fiscal year. in effect you'll have a further reduction. and my question is, have you established a prioritization of actions that you will take to meet sequestration? so that you are starting, if you will, with a list and crossing them off as the dollars are a limited to come is that a process you've gone through? >> sir, we are deeply enmeshed in the process in the department of defense right now, and it is consuming a lot of time and attention. there is no set, i would say we understand the requirements of the budget control act, the potential that sequestration
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might continue. we still hope that the congress and the president might reach an agreement to change the budget control act -- >> so do i -- >> to relieve us from the burdens of sequestration which are on the books now. but we are going through multiple budget alternatives, internal for the department to assess the impacts going forward and to prioritize our work, absolutely. >> and are you looking, if you will, with a broad brush, are you looking at personal? are you looking at equipment? are you looking at all when? >> were looking everything. the secretary, as you know, right after he came in and established a strategic choices and management review, which referred in the department as the skimmer, which is essentially a 75 day review top
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to bottom on strategic fiscal resourcing issues, on all the matters that you asked about, so it is really a complete soup to nuts review of our defense priorities and resourcing. and that will play out further into june. we will get the results of that work, secretaries direction on how to proceed for planning purposes through '14 and '15. but i will say that you cannot take a trillion dollars out of the defense budget over 10 years without having a devastating impact on our military capability. so it is not a matter of just choices or strategic choices, which, of course, we will make. as i tried to usher every committee i've addressed this year, we will make the best use and get the most out of the
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resources that you provide. your military will do that, but at a trillion dollars over the next 10 years, every part of our military will be affected. nothing will be protected. so it will affect the force structure. it'll affect the rate of modernization, as i described for the air force. all of our military forces will be smaller. we will have less capacity. it's my hope that we would be a ready force, even if we are smaller, but that cannot be guaranteed if these levels of production. so i'm just saying, a trillion dollars is going to have a huge impact on our military. >> thank you. i yield back. >> mr. womack, thank you for your patience. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and my thanks to secretary donley and wish you well when your tenure as secretary is over. general welsh, as always good to
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see. as the secretary said, it's been a long time ago that he said this, we've covered a lot of material here. but i want to associate myself with his remarks about regular order. and i think that that's one of the true challenges facing this congress. i know there's a lot of things that are challenging our defense department and the services, but we have to get back to regular order. and i couldn't agree more, and i appreciate you so much saying that in your opening comments. i also, don't you want to associate myself with remarks that have already been provided regarding the critical issue of sexual assault going on within our services. and i know it's been a difficult issue. i think mr. cole said it pretty well when he said that he had
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the absent confidence in the leadership of the air force to deal with this issue. but it obviously is something that has spiraled somewhat out of control, and general welsh, i would just challenge you as the new chief of staff of the air force to call on your days as the commandant at the air force academy where you had the future leadership of the air force, many of those men and women now moving through the ranks as officers in our air force, call on those days when you're dealing with leadership issues there. because this is a true leadership issue for our department of defense. but i have confidence, as mr. cole has said, that we will find the answers as solutions to the challenge. ..
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borden's of this issue to which event to our air force leadership and the expectations from them as commanders for not only ordering discipline but the unit climate that promotes the dignity and respect of every airman and respect for the work
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that every airman brings to their job. so we have a chief that understands this and is working very hard. >> i have a couple of questions. one is parochial in nature and as general welsh knows, one of the air bases, one of the national guard air bases has been remission in arkansas and i know there was a line of questioning that came up in the senate hearings, general welsh, i will give you an opportunity to the record to help me reassure the people here that remission in to the remote split operational platform for the 188 in arkansas is still the plan, the appropriate steps being taken to be sure proper budgets
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and what have you are in place to ensure that it has what we call initial operating capacity. just a thought or two on that. >> funds in place, the plan is to draw down the unit of portsmouth that will continue through next summer, summer of 14. in spring the summer of 2014 will move people who are interested from the new targeting squadron that will stand in portsmouth and look for a trending opportunities because the intent is to have additional capability of the squadron in portsmouth by first quarter of fiscal year 16 which is the plan we have been on from the beginning and we are working on budgetary issues that go with that. >> is it your initial opinion that these kinds of missions are the most enduring we have in the
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force right now. >> i don't know about most enduring but this is the leading edge of what command commanders, surveillance and reconnaissance and that is what these units do, targeting group can work in that arena and the cyberarena both of which are growth areas of the future. for the air force. >> my last question is about a total force task force. in the testimony on or about march 1st, that task force stood up. having been involved -- i am sorry, mr. chairman. having been involved in military planning throughout my military career i know any time we looking to future planning for these kinds of issues that many times we introduce into the equations certain facts or assumptions that may be in play,
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initial guidance for the people that will be coming out with these kinds of reports. what kind of facts and assumptions have we made as we start looking at the proper force makes over the next decade or so? this may be -- or the chief. >> total force task force has been working the last several months in consultation with a couple of the great tags from around the country who are helping oversee the activity and offering suggestions on approaches, the next step is to come together, first in put is tomorrow afternoon and the next week sitdown and have the latest update on potential models for the force mix. it'd be a percentage? up percentage by overall force structure? is it better to put missions into the guard versus missions in the active component? we will look at that model first and done a lot of analysis and
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we know the cost drivers and the operational effectiveness drivers and sit down and start talking through the options. the best part about this discussion is its honesty. all the myths are on the table. we have been able to kill many of the man come to agreement on what the components are the problem versus what they don't agree to a man dissect those things. the total force task force will be the principal point of contact in information generating, advise offering by an for the senate's structured task force standing up about right now as well. lots of activity going on in this area and the intent is to streamline with the budget planning process in the 15 budget the air force has a proposal how to move together. >> the chief is right on top of it. as we go forward, and potentially as the services including the air force
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potentially get smaller depending on the budget, outcomes, we are destined to work more closely together and this is already recognized across our forces. and as we made the planned bed downs 40 k c 46 tanker there are associated units planned for these locations so tight integration in the guard reserve and active components at critical locations around the country is going to be more and more important to ensuring we have a ready force and the most capable force we can generate across the total force, not just active, not just guard but working together. give us the most efficient, most effective combination of forces and try to do that as
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efficiently as possible around key locations. >> thank you for your service. miss kaptur. >> thank you for your service to our country at a trying time for the nation and the air force. i wanted to say something to you i said in a the end army and that is in terms of the personnel that are now and listing in our services based on behavioral studies, we know that a much higher percentage of those who are prone to violence because of violence in their own mind with the volunteer military are enlisting in the services and in addition to the behavioral work being done to address the sexual assault and other issues we deal with in the military during deployment, opposed deployment i would encourage you to look at free enlistment screening that gets that this violence question because it expresses itself in many forms as individuals attempt to carry forward the
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tasks the nation asks them to do. that is only in the way of a suggestion. i wanted to ask in associating my remarks with congressman mccollum and mr. bonner and so forth, what can we as members say to our constituents are immediate actions you have taken as air force if there's any individual out there who intended the air force academy and left because of sexual assault and believe that this has occurred in the ranks, is there a hot line weekend tell them to go to? is there some person we should report this information to? what can we do? we are asked in our district was has air force done to create a special place where people can now take these concerns? >> there is a sexual assault response to what nadir at every air force location.
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individuals who think -- who want to report or need to report either a reason for past event can do so through that channel and do that through the inspector general. through their command chain. >> i hear what you are saying. when we ran into the problem with p t s d when people didn't believe there was anything more agent orange we created a special place. we created another platform within the department of veterans affairs, and i would ask you to consider structurally some place where congressman mccollum and i wanted to allow information to come forward, that there's a special place. if you could think about that and get back to us, 800 number people could call, it is at that level of public concern. i can tell you i had a young woman i appointed years ago to the air force academy who was beaten up and went through all
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the prophecies that existed at that time and it really changed the way i looked at the academy's forever and i am surely not the only member that has experienced that. so i would like to see your personal involvement at some level at the secretary level. because it is that serious. think about that. if you could get back to me on that. my third question, third, and relates to energy independence. thank you for mentioning it in your testimony. i would be very interested in more detail from air force as to where your focus has been in terms of fuel consumption based -- powering r&d so that we exceed standards that have been adopted. you have already exceeded them
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on an annual basis. air force is the largest user of fuel in the military and any additional detail you can provide so i can see your policy focus how to move toward air force energy, independence and helping the nation get there too i appreciate the detail and i wanted to move and associate myself with the remarks -- i find what happened inconceivable. i wonder if there were statements in the press regarding various individuals in charge calling the situation a crisis, the grade level was the in terms of oversight, you use the term oil in the ranks. what can you do to assure us and
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a short the american people this situation has been dealt with aggressively and that our missile capability is being properly shepherded and confidence res >> that phrase is not one that i have used. it may have been in the press. that is not a quote from me. to my recollection at all. >> i thought it was attributed to you. >> most of the comments came from an e-mail colonel fool's broke. he is passionate about his job which i admire, and from terminology i would have used differently, i think if he was here he would tell you he would use it differently as well. the bottom line of this was the only thing we can tell the american people because this is the fact, an indication highlighted by an inspection that is there to do exactly is that and the leadership team
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took aggressive action to ensure the standard never slipped below the minimum required to get the job done in any area. marginal is a passing grade on our inspection. these inspections are extremely difficult. the standard is very high but it is unusual that this particular area would be graded that low. that is why the wing commander reacted the way he did and he reacted that way immediately. there's nothing good about the fact this happened. the response was appropriate in my view and i would be more upset if they hadn't responded this way. >> our people burned out? >> i don't get that impression from the commanders. i spoke to a number of commanders, their belief is this is just a matter of refocusing the work force on the standard expected every single day in their job. that is the way they characterize it to me. i can understand it.
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this is a difficult job, a tough job, you have to be focused. there is no room for error and certainly no room for commanders expecting less than expected performance and that is why they took this action. >> what about the trend used, ross? >> it was used by the same individual in e-mail, his commanders's view is he was trying to get the attention of the workforce in a way that they would not avoid paying attention. he was passionate that he wants his team to perform better. >> have your placed members of the team? >> all members of the team he was referring to have been decertified, going for a 60 day retraining program and will earn the right to go back into the missionary. or not. i am confident they won't go back in if they don't meet the required standard and expectation.
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>> how long, when the evaluation was done, did you react immediately? >> the wing took action immediately. we hear about the inspection results within 24 hours of the inspection being completed we get a report the secretary and i both as well as commanders in the chain above the wing. the air force global strike commander told me e immediately that the wing was taking action to look at the grade. they were concerned with that kind of a score on their inspection report. before we knew this was going on. >> did that alert you to attention you should pay to any other site? >> these are not across all three missiles. >> will the colonel yield? when did secretary hegel find out about this? i understand he thought about it being asked by a reporter by something that was often sourced and because there had been problems once before, soon after a problem was identified and
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reported ae that day, something that would be another black eye on the same unit with potential for high profile, the secretary would be informed in person. when did the secretary find out about this? >> i found out -- secretary hazel heard the actual report of the grade on the report, we knew immediately after the inspection had concluded. i don't consider that a black eye. it was a passing grade for the unit and corrective action required in the mind of the commander and they took it and they knew that was occurring. the e-mail -- >> i am a former teacher. et they is not a good grade. >> the e-mail we received, when you are recording from, we became aware of this past friday evening and on monday morning we became aware they had taken 17 officers at the end of their review and put them into this grounding status so we found out
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on monday of this week. i don't know when they were informed. >> may i ask how often are these inspections and? >> this particular inspection is done every 2 years there three a round two your overlapping cycles, they get one major inspection every year. >> both congressman frelinghuysen and i will have followed questions but i have to tell you is an astounding development. i know my time is up. i just wanted to ask the secretary or the general could provide for the record on another topic, how you are looking at sequestration and cost savings over a the next five years, transferring some of the active duty responsibilities to air guard and reserve forces. how is that influencing your thinking in order to meet budget
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requirements as you look at air force, very interested in the enhanced role of the guard reserve in the years ahead as a way of meeting our mission but also saving money. thank you very much for your testimony mr. chairman. >> mr. secretary, early in your comments, you talked about the issue of basing in europe, where also in conversations about another round of brac. tell me about who has ownership of our presence in a place like lodges. >> i will ask the chief to speak to these issues as well since he
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was our former commander of u.s. air forces in europe. it is to answer your question directly lodge flaps is under s usa usafy's command. >> here's an air force presence, you are not the owner of the presence? >> the idea force is. >> it is? >> it is the portuguese base as well. >> i understand that and also the conversation i am hearing from a number of colleagues as well as some of our friends in portugal that they are concerned we might be diminishing our presence, reducing our footprint to the effect that it might not be a very good investment for them and they may be looking around for different tenet and we understand the chinese have been present without any real knowledge of what they are doing
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but we understood has been a substantial chinese presence. that we would be leaving a major presence, that we would retain some presence but it looks to me like this is the tremendously valuable facility right out there in the ocean that has a commanding presence in europe, africa, and i am just wondering if we are seriously considering just basically moving on except for a small presence. >> i will let the chief amplify but we did plan on reducing our footprint at whats and cutting back on the hours, not talking about departing lodges altogether but reducing the hours of operation at that location. >> in response to congressional interest that oversees structure
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and department of defense response to that, u.s. air forces in europe and other components along with u.s./european command of that beijing and installations for options, foreclosure, realignment, consolidation, anything to save money and infrastructure in europe because we consider that a precursor to congress looking at anything in the states where we have excess capacity as well and as part of that there is an operational assessments done of every installation. and air force installations, lodges is one of the ones with no immediate operational requirements to support activity in the middle east or africa. range of airplanes and types of airplanes, and we don't use that anywhere near the rates we did 10 or 15 or 20 years ago and the intent is to downsize from an airbase wing to an air base water at larges to the president facility to maintain custody of the fuel facility which is very
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large and is a strategic asset for the united states but other than that there is no operational requirement that drives continue the large-scale investment lodge flaps and as the secretary said if we are talking $1 trillion it has to come from somewhere so this is a tough decision. >> what i wondering about is if there did become an operational requirement for something like whats, what would be replaced lodges with? does have enough aircraft carriers? >> pfft usafi is planning for the future, in some contingency locations where we have not been utilizing our forces and presence as much as we did ten, 15 or 20 years ago it makes sense to cut back, but we still think we will have access to locations like lodge flaps and other parts of europe if we
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maintain a residual presence and we are doing that at larges. this has been a matter of great focus and a lot of work on the part of defense department and includes state department leadership over the last few years. it is a matter of concern to the local residents, the island and in side of the portuguese government. we have had a number of conversations. i talked to the ambassador a couple times, the minister of defence and the portuguese want to be effective neighbors. >> our influence or power control would be -- would not be replaced by some other foreign interest in view of our reducing
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our activity there and our presence? >> i can't speak to what the portuguese government's plans might be for that base going forward that has not been a matter of on my plate. >> seems like an awfully good asset. to visit there a number of times, an impressive location, impressive capability. but anyway. >> okay. >> the next series of votes will go quick, there will be five votes and five minute votes so we're debt but do--- we're getting very close. just advised the bell has rung for mr. visclosky. you have the final time.
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>> mr. secretary general, relative to the issue of sexual misconduct, i would urge persistence. i can't imagine how many distractions you have at a given moment given the budgetary concerns you have and the responsibilities you have and i would urge persistence for those recruits, those sergeants. in another century when i heard of practicing law it was against the law to drive a car drunk but it happened. it was kind of acceptable. and not much happened to you when you went to court if you had a conviction. but persistence paid off and people understand you could hurt yourself or hurt somebody else.
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what urged persistence? every day, so people know nothing is going to let up until that culture is changed. secondly, associate myself with mr. frelinghuysen's concerns also echoed by ms. kaptur said the issue of nuclear weapons is the most critical moment in our military. so again, would urge you to continue your good work on that. my time is very limited and i do have a series of questions but they really relate on the air force and navy are critical partners and too often in the past and our committee, having dual membership by the three of us, we had that in the past with mr. hobson as well, the cost involved. one specific question i have in
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a minute here is on the be 61 refurbishment which started as a $5 billion program. at this point the cost analysis program evaluation is $10 billion. nnsa is saying $8 billion. is a robust change and are you concerned about those costs? the second question is nuclear-weapons kelso recently adopted long-term strategy to essentially take seven ballistic and five air delivered systems and reduce them to essentially three ballistic and two air delivered and whether you are in concurrence with that and whether or not you can have cost concerns and specifically relative to the air force do you have strategic concerns with nn nnsa's push for 78 warhead and
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the cost involved and finally because it is solid human condition few good point out changes you like to see, i would like to is make sure we are doing the right thing as far as strategy, weapons and stockpile but that there is good communication between the service and the agency and we are doing it as cost-effective diaz possible. what -- we would appreciate your serious consideration for the record. thank you, mr. chairman. >> the u.s. senate returns decision to resume work on a bill authorizing dozens of various federal water, coastal landon by mental projects.
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a vote to cut off debate is set for noon. it is possible the vote may not be needed if they agree to a plan to get to a final vote on the measure. also possible, debate on votes on two of president obama's picks to head the energy department and the centers for medicare and medicaid services. live coverage on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. lord god all powerful, we sing praises to you, for you bless all those who depend on you for strength.
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you are the shield that protects our nation. you treat us with kindness and honor. lord, pour your spirit upon our senators so that they will feel your transforming presence. may they use the abilities you have given them to make the world a better place. help them to take seriously their opportunity to be instruments of your grace. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance.
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i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, may 14, 2013. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable elizabeth warren, a senator from the commonwealth of massachusetts, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: mr. leader. mr. reid: the republican leader and i just spent a minute commiserating on the fact that
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we follow, both of us, very closely the washington nationals and we talk often about how they fare on a given day, and we talk about the las vegas young man, bryce harper, often because he's really a phenomenon in baseball. and yesterday he got -- they're playing in los angeles, a late game, two walks, a hit, and, like he does all the time -- or not like this -- he's chasing a ball at full speed and runs into the wall full speed. i'm told by the republican leader -- i'm going it talk to his family. the time is too early in the west. i will a talk to his mom rand dad to see how he's doing. he crashed into the wall. he has 11 stitches in his chin. his shoulders, so.
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we'll see how he is. mr. mcconnell: if the majority leader would yield, as the majority leader indicated, we were talking about this before we went into session. this kid is the most incredible competitor i've ever seen. the game is on the west coast, and i don't know whether my friend stayed up that late or not, but i didn't state stay up late -- but i didn't stay up late enough to get the crash into the wall. when he speak to his mother, remind her this is one thing that leaders on both sides fully agree on. we're hoping harper has a speedy recovery and back in the lineup. mr. reid: and the manager said when asked afterward about him, he said, i don't want him to change anything because he's such a competitor. but i think he'll have to watch those balls a little in the future. mrs. boxer: i note you both are wearing the same suit today. mr. reid: yes, we try. the senator from california said we're wearing the same suits. we try to match.
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following leader remarks, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 11:00 this morning. the majority will control the first hark the republicans the final half. following that morning business, the i senate will resume s. 601, the water developmen resources t act. i would ask that if the vote has to come a little bit later, we'll have to get out of the way before ow caucuses. i think we can terminate that at noon. so i ask consent that the democrats have their full half-hour and the republicans their full half-hour. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: following that morning business, the senate will resume consideration of the water resources development act. and as i indicated in a meeting i had just a few minutes ago, this is really an important bill. and it shows that one of our most liberal members of the senate can work with one of the most conservative members of the senate, boxer and vitter.
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they work extremely well. they've done exemplary work on this bivment and i hope we can have a finite list of amendments an not have to invoke cloture, because we would invoke cloture. i would rather not do that. the filing deadline for all second-degree amendments is at 11:15 today. managers will continuing to work on an agreement to complete action on the bill. if no agreement is reached, there will be a cloture vote at noon today. madam president, on thursday speaker boehner said a remarkable thing. he said, and i quote, "we can't cut our way to prosperity." it was good to hear him speaking candidly. that's what democrats have been saying for years. we can't cut our way to prosperity. it's important we've done some cutting. we're proud of the work we've dong. to this point, more than $2.5 trillion we've cut. it will take more than a meat-ax budget to keep our economy on the path to recovery. it will take a balanced
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approach, one that couples smart spending cuts with investments in our future and some new revenue from closing these wasteful loopholes that i have spoken to members of the finance committee and my caucus about on many occasions. so nothing could be further from that balanced policy than the so-called sequester. as long as sequester's harmful across-the-board cuts remain in effect, our economy is in jeopardy. as long as republicans refuse to go to conference on the budget, the sequester will remain in effect. it's now been, madam president, 52 days since the senate passed its budget. why are republicans standing in the way? we've talked about that for weeks now. we need to move forward and pass a budget that encourages economic expansion by i investig in what makes america strong while cutting the deficit.
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after years of calling for regular order, after years of demanding the senate pass a budget, i expect republicans to embrace this process. but i couldn't have been more wrong. republicans have objected to a conference a half a dozen times and counting. it's obvious they're delaying for one nakedly partisan reason: they hope to delay compromise long enough to create another manufactured crisis as the nation once again approaches the debt limit. the debt ceiling, mr. president, is something 245 we used to just -- is something that we used to just move past. an elephant never forgets. but republicans don't follow their mascot, as they have a very short memory. elephants don't. but the republican party does. they should remember the political pain they inflicted upon them -- the republicans -- and our country over the past two years, in part by driving the one interest one manufactured crisis to the next.
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it's astonishing that republicans will once again, as they passed in the house last week, a bill to hold the full faith and credit of the united states government hostage. if only because it's so bad for their political brand, but it's also bad for our country. the last time republicans drove us to the brink of default, it cost the united states its pristine credit rating and cost the economy billions of dollars. when i talk about republicans, madam president, i'm not speaking about republicans generically. that is, republicans around the country. because many, many republicans, if not most republicans, agree that these manufactured crises are a waste of time and not good for our country. i'm talking and drecking my attention -- and directing my attention to the republicans in the congress, because they don't obviously agree with the republicans around the country p. i hope my republican colleagues will not take their partisan ploy as far as they have in the future. -- i'm sorry, in the past.
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it's time to embrace regular order. it's time to get away from last-minute negotiations and short-term fixes. it is time to enfaith in a responsible budget -- it's time to engage in a responsible budget process. the only way to work through our differences is through the budget process without bringing our country to the verge of another artificial crisis. americans are tired of the battles about whether the federal government should pay the bill that they've incurred. that's what we've done, madam president. we've incurred these bills. we have to pay them. we've made purchases on credit. americans know, as democrats do, that congress won't set sound fiscal policy during last-minute negotiation or extortion or hostage take. the secretary of defense will announce later today that 800,000 civilian employees at the defense department will get furloughs. the decision is yet how long it
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is going to be. he hopes he can make it 11 days. it will probably be two weeks. now, that may not sound like much, but for somebody who's on a budget,ersonal budget, depending on their wages, to suddenly say during the time until september is, you'r 1, yoe going to be furloughed, that's wrecking havoc with their personal budget. what this sequestration is doing is setting bad fiscal policy. it can't happen. we have to compromise. it won't set sound fiscal policy without us sitting down at a negotiating table to find common ground between republicans and democrats in this congress. passing a budget would clarify each side's values. the and it did that. we had a vote-a-thon here to determine what republicans thought was the right thing to do. we finished at 5:00 in the
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morning and what democrats should do. we thought this was a good step toward compromise. but we were wrong. republicans will not move forward. we've waited 52 days. the next step is name conferees. that will only be a first step. after conferees are named, we have to make sure that they meet and work things out. right now republicans are the only thing standing in the way of progress -- getting rid of this conservation. if my republican colleagues are serious, they should stop waiting around for another crisis and start working with democrats today. finally, again, it's been 52 days since the republicans passed -- i'm sorry. let's start off, because i can read. it's a been 52 days since the senate passed its bill. we're waiting for republicans to follow regular order and move to ara conference.
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mr. mcconnellmadam president? officer -- mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: over the past days we've heard many in the the media talk about how this has been a rough week for the streasmghts it's been a worse week for the first amendment. on provid friday learned that te i.r.s. deliberately targeted conservative groups across the country in the midst of a heated national election. over the weekend we learned that the extent of it was even broader, even broader, than we originally thought. then this morning we all learned that the targeting wasn't limited to an i.r.s. office out of cincinnati p. -- as the administration suggested last week. but that it reached all the way to the i.r.s. headquarters right here in washington. what we don't know at this point is whether it jumped the fence
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from the i.r.s. to the white house. but we do know this: we can't count on the administration to be forthcoming about the details of this scandal because so far they've been anything but. so this morning i'm calling on the president to make available, completely and without restriction, everyone -- everyone who can answer the questions we have as to what's been going on at the i.r.s., who knew about it, and how high it went. no stonewalling, no more incomplete answers, no more misleading responses, no holding back witnesses, no matter how senior their current or former positions, we need full transparency and we need full
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cooperation. the american people deserve answers. the answers that the i.r.s. has now owned up to and that were uncovered by their own inspector general are an outrage, an absolute outrage. we now know that the i.r.s. targeted groups for using such terminology as -- get this -- "we the people." and for educating folks about the u.s. constitution and the bill of rights. i mean, you can't make this stuff up. what's also clear is that government officials repeatedly -- repeatedly -- failed to own up to what they knew was going on. when it turns out they had known about it since at least the middle of 2011. so the i.r.s. knew what was
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happening, yet they tend to give us -- they continued to give us assurances that they were applying the tax rules in a fair and impartial way. despite repeated, repeated assurances from the obama administration that it was not targeting its political enemies through the i.r.s. during the last election cycle, we've now learned that the i.r.s. was in fact singling out conservative groups, groups who dared to speak up and express their first amendment rights. let's recap what happened. last march, after receiving multiple claims of unusual harassment by the i.r.s. from constituents who wanted to form tax-exempt political organizations, i and several of my colleagues sent a letter to then-i.r.s. commissioner shulman questioning select enforcement of tax-exempt organizations. now we learn, according to the
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i.r.s.'s own inspector general, that the i.r.s. was well aware that this selective treatment was happening at the time our letter was sent, and in fact had already acted to correct what they later called inappropriate behavior. but there was no mention of that in the i.r.s. initial response, nor was there any mention of this behavior which was by that time well known within the agency. in a second letter sent back to us in september 2012 -- so they had a second opportunity in 2012 to tell us what they knew. we had to wait several more months to wait for a special investigator's report that republicans demanded in order to find out the truth of what was actually happening over at the i.r.s.. in the coming days we'll learn
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more and we'll start getting answers to questions like was the i.r.s. deliberately misleading republican senators? or was it betraying profound incompetence? but as i said, the fact is none of this would have come out if we relied on the administration's own word and republicans hadn't demanded to know the truth. now, clearly, we've only started to scratch the surface of this scandal. the american people are looking for answers, and i'm determined to help them get to the bottom of this. last june, june of 2012, i gave a very public speech in which i called out the obama administration for serial abuses of government power in going after its political enemies in the middle of a heated national election. now, the left scoffed at the suggestion. "the washington post" said my speech was full of" quo red
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herrings." "the new york times" called my argument -- quote -- "bogus," and robert reich called it bonkers. we learned last week these abuses were more widespread than first thought so it's good see some of my democratic colleagues blaming the i.r.s. for blatant and thugish abuse of power. it's preferable to the silence or, worse, encouragement they demonstrated in the past. the chairman of the finance committee was correct in referring to the i.r.s.''s action as an outrageous abuse of power and breach of the public's trust. he's vowed to get to the bottom of what happened and has promised his committee will hold hearings on all of this. those hearings, my friend, should be tough, and they should aim to bring the light of truth to all of this. but our democratic friends
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shls acknowledge their role in inculcating this culture of intimidation due to repeated calls nor increased -- increased -- i.r.s. scrutiny of groups like the very ones that ended up being targeted. now we owe it to all americans to get to the bottom, get right down to the bottom of this scandal and to hold those responsible accountable and to put the proper safeguards in place for moving forward. because as the president was correct in noting yesterday, one day a republican will inhabit the oval office. and when he or she does, the left will want to know that they will not be harassed for having the audacity, the audacity to disagree. that agency like the i.r.s. will return to its proper role as completely nonpartisan and apolitical. not a tool -- not a tool -- for an administration of one strike
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to bully and intimidate those who adhere to another. but in order for congress to effectively perform the oversight it needs to do, the administration will have to make everyone who can answer these questions available expeditiously. we have even more questions today than we did last year, and we're not going to accept more half-baked responses. we want to get the full truth this time. and, madam president, we intend to get it. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 11:00 a.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, with the time equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the majority controlling the first half. mrs. boxer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: madam president,
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pretty soon we're going to go back to the water resources development act, otherwise known as the wrda bill, and i will comment on that soon. we are making terrific progress. i hope senators who may hear my voice would understand that. we would prefer to deal with a number of amendments rather than vote cloture. we have been working with almost -- well, i can't tell you -- 20 different senators to try and accommodate them to either take their amendments if they're noncontroversial by voice or to make sure we can vote on their amendments or side-by-sides. the bottom line is it is time now, it's past time that senators decide if they want to really move this bill forward in an open way with regular order or they want to avoid these very important amendments that we could vote on and go straight to cloture. so i hope we can continue tohro.
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madam president, there's no room for politics at the i.r.s.. senator mcconnell is right. senator reid is right. they've both addressed it. the issue here is the i.r.s. has to be completely neutral in politics. they have to go after organizations and individuals who are not abiding by the rules, whether they're right, left, center or no ideology at all. and i mean, i remember during the bush years we saw the i.r.s. targeting liberal churches. it was awful. and they were harassing them and forcing them to show that they were nonprofits. and now we see the i.r.s. has been targeting tea party groups. so whether they're targeting right or left, that is wrong. and anyone doing it, frankly, needs to get another job, because that's just against the
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law. we can't have politically motivated audits or harassing people, whatever their politics may be. so, here's what we do need. we do need a fair i.r.s. that definitely looks at whether organizations, be they left or right, are truly deserving of tax-exempt status. that is important. but not targeting one group or another. so let us just hope that -- and we also know that the targeting of the tea party groups took place while a bush appointee was the head of the i.r.s., probably perhaps was quite unaware. but the bottom line is people at the top have to be held accountable. i agree with that. so he should have known what was going on. but there's no room for this. and i do believe there has to be serious, serious action taken at
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the personnel level. otherwise people will just go ho-hum. no, no ho-hum. you cannot use a position to harass people because of their politics, regardless of where their politics may lie. on another topic, i feel i want to be heard on, which is the issue of benghazi. i wrote an op-ed piece on this because i absolutely cannot believe what is happening with our republican friends on this issue. as a senior member of the foreign relations committee, i can say that i sat through the entire testimony of then-secretary of state hillary clinton. not only did she sit for hours, not only was she straight from the heart and straight from the shoulder, but she took full responsibility with what went wrong. and she ordered an independent investigation which was launched
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by admiral mullen and ambassador pickerring. they did an exhaustive study and what they found out is that unfortunately we did not have enough security at that outpost. it was not an embassy but it was definitely an outpost. now, there's a lot of talk about how could this happen, e-mails and all the rest. let me focus on something very important. it takes funding to protect an embassy. it takes funding to protect a consolate. it takes funding to protect an outpost. yes, it takes funding. who cut the funds from embassy security? the republicans in the house. that's who. hundreds of millions of dollars. and if it wasn't for the democrats, it would have been cut more because when it came here, we stood our ground.
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we had to accommodate their cuts. that's how the process works. so i think the benghazi scandal, in quotes, starts with republicans looking in the mirror. mirror, mirror, who's the fairest of them all? they ought to ask: mirror, mirror, who cut the funding for diplomatic security across this world for america? the answer: republicans. they cannot stand the heat, so they turn it on secretary clinton. and that is completely wrong. so i say you want to know what happened in benghazi, it starts with the fact that there wasn't enough security and there wasn't enough security because the budget was cut. and secretary clinton said she, in hindsight should have definitely fought against it even harder than she did.
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but let the record show she said, she predicted problems. when she saw the cuts, she -- i don't have the exact quote in front of me, but to paraphrase she said there's going to be problems here. this budget is cut too much. and she was right. now what about these talking points? madam president, i don't know if you sit down with your staff when you put out a press release and discuss how you're going to phrase something. i don't know whether you do that. i don't know whether you just do it by yourself. but what i do and what most people do, they have a collaborative process. and when you are trying to put out a press release with a whole number of agencies having to sign off on it, it is a collaborative process. at the end of the day, one statement was approved, and the statement that was made by susan rice, her paraphrasing of the
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statement was it looks like this started because of this protest, but we don't know for sure. we don't know. and as we know, we will say that the day of or the day after what happened in benghazi, the president of these united states -- president obama -- stood up and said this was a terror attack. so why are the republicans playing politics with this? it's pretty clear. their attack coincides with a karl rove ad against secretary of state hillary clinton. they're going after her why? because they are looking to the 2016 presidential election. and i've got to say, keep politics out of the i.r.s.. keep politics out of benghazi. don't take four beautiful americans who died in a tragic fashion and play politics, 2016 politics with it. it's an outrage.
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so i say start off by looking in the mirror, stepping up to the plate, admitting that you cut too much for embassy security, and, you know, you want to hold a hearing on it, fine. but call the people to the table who can help us make sure this never happens again. so i will so i will continue to speak out on benghazi. i will continue to speak out on whatever issues my republican friends are pounding on. because at the end of the day, the bottom line is, who cut the money for embassy security? and if they want to divert ateption from that, be my guest. but i will bring it home. everyone knows, if we had adequate security there, it could have well been a different outcome. madam president, i have 11 unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. and i ask unanimous consent that
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these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: madam president, i see that my friend is here to make some comments, so i will sum up my points now. anyone who hears me, please, if you have an amendment that you are working on with us, please come down to the senate. let's get this unanimous consent that we them to make shortly agreed to. let's get to the amendments. there's a whole list of bipartisan amendments that we believe have been cleared, and let's get this bill done. the ratings that we've been given from the engineers is a d-plus for our infrastructure. that means we need to deepen our ports. it means we need more flood control. it means we need to invest -- invest in water infrastructure. we need to restore wet lanks. we have a lot of -- we need to restore wetlands.
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we have a lot of work to do. as we enter periods of time now where there's more and more extreme weather, weather we've never seen before, w we need to make those investments to prevent the worst from happening. we saw when it cost with superstorm. one event -- $60 billion. how does that make sense to pay after the fact? we need to invest. this bill has a lot of reforms that are important, and i think our people know they need to fix their infrastructure, whether it is roads, whether it is bridges or water infrastructure. it has to be done. this bill will support 550,000 jobs, and lord knows people need that as well. so with that, i would yield the floor and i note that my colleague is waiting to speak, so i will just yield the floor to him.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call: quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mrs. fischer: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated, please. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. fischer: madam president, i rise today to speak out against the alarming reports that have recently surfaced about the i.r.s. and the department of justice. as the federal agency tasked with administrating the u.s. tax code, the i.r.s. has an
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extraordinary influence on the lives of all americans from all walks of life and all points of view. as citizens, we have the absolute right to expect the i.r.s. to be free from political influence with taxpayers treated fairly and enforcement carried out in an unbiased manner. unfortunately, in recent days we have learned that our expectations are far adrift from reality. last week the internal revenue service acknowledged a history of targeting conservative politically active groups during the process of seeking tax-exempt status. this practice first involved flagging groups about government spending and debt. ironically, such targeting comes at a time when poll after poll indicates that the federal government's out-of-control
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spending and our $17 trillion debt are top concerns for all americans. and i can tell you from my experience, it's the top concern for nebraskans. despite these legitimate concerns and the patriotic desire of americans to affect change in government, the i.r.s. worked to impede these organizations with one of the bluntest instruments of government: regulatory abuse. the i.r.s. demanded inordinate amounts of documents from these groups including donor lists which serve to unfairly delay the tax-exempt certification of these well-intentioned groups. this news is alarming on multiple fronts. first and foremost, it is unacceptable that the i.r.s. would blatantly target any of our fellow citizens, let alone groups of americans whose views are at odds from their own.
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as "the washington post" noted in today's lead editorial, any unequal application of the law based on ideological viewpoint is unpardonable, toxic to the legitimacy of the government's vast law enforcement authority. i couldn't agree more. these activist groups were simply trying to exercise their first amendment rights of peaceable assembly and free speech, the corner stone of our democracy. yet, their reward for expressing concern about the direction our country is going was to be singled out in an attempt to prevent them from fully engaging in the democratic process. it has been reported that the targeting of these americans and muffling of their voices on the pressing issues facing our country began in 2010.
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what's happened since then? the passage of very consequential pieces of legislation, including obamacare and dodd-frank, the financial reform act. multiple debates on how to address our nation's dire fiscal situation, two national elections, including last fall's presidential election. as alarming as the actions of the i.r.s. are, i'm even more troubled by the i.r.s. trying to hide these actions. when an i.r.s. official finally acknowledged and apologized for the targeting of conservative groups last week, it was more than three years after the practice is said to have begun. it was more than a year after the current acting i.r.s. commissioner, steven miller, is reported to have become aware of the targeting. but it doesn't stop with
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mr. miller. as "the washington post" noted, lois lerner, head of the i.r.s.'s tax-exempt organization office, knew about the targeting in 2011. she seemed to say friday that she learned about it from news reports last year. these were not the malicious actions of a rogue agent or simply another skpapl -- example of government incompetence. instead, this was a clear, methodical abuse of government power. to discriminate against whole groups of americans simply because of their political beliefs. despite their awareness of abuse, officials from the i.r.s. failed time after time to disclose this targeting, and little effort was made to end the practice. even as recently as their
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admissions on friday, the i.r.s. continued to engage in coverups and half-truths. in fact, i.r.s. officials seem to go out of their way to deny wrongdoing. in testimony last year before the house of representatives, then-i.r.s. commissioner douglas shulman said there was absolutely no targeting. after years of neglecting to inform congress of this practice, the long overdue admission was the result of diligent lawmakers' exercising oversight along with a soon-to-be released report from the treasury inspector general for tax administration. the time for muted outrage and limp apologies has passed. the american people deserve nothing less than absolute assurance that this practice will not happen again.
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those who are responsible must be held accountable and removed from their positions. the policies that enabled this gross abuse of power must be changed immediately. it is also worth noting that the i.r.s. is one of the lead federal agency in charge of implementing obamacare. it does not appear that the i.r.s. is in any condition to implement this highly controversial law, particularly as public trust in this agency continues to plummet. now, madam president, just yesterday we learned of another breach of public trust and another potential violation of our first amendment freedom, the freedom of the press. press reports indicate that the department of justice secretly obtained extensive telephone
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records of reporters and editors for the associated press. and what the head of the news organization called a massive and unprecedented intrusion into how news organizations gather the news. according to the associated press' legal counsel, the records obtained included those from reporters working out of the house of representatives press gallery. while it is unclear at this point how many reporters were targeted and why, the effect of this data gathering is clear. intimidation of the press and suppression of free speech. this is unacceptable. a free and unfettered press is vital to any democracy. moreover the scope of this information gathering is simply
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beyond the pale and likely beyond precedent. the attorney general and the president owe the american people answers, and they owe them now. mr. president, these recent abuses of power by both the i.r.s. and the department of justice are just the latest episodes of this executive branch's disturbing pattern of overstepping its lawful powers. we've seen this in the president's unconstitutional recess appointments. we've seen this in the e.p.a.'s disclosure of classified information of cattlemen to activist environmental groups. we've seen this in a lack of forthrightness with our government's response to the attacks on the u.s. consulate in
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benghazi. the result of this methodical government overreach is a powerful, chilling effect on citizens. there is no place for that in a democracy. there is no place for that in the united states. the american people deserve a government that jealously guards the liberties of its citizens, not a government that tramples on our basic constitutional rights. mr. president, i yield the floor.
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a senator: mr. president? i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mrs. boxer: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. boxer: mr. president, in the interest of all senators and frankly in the interest of the people of this courages we are moving forward -- of this country, we are moving forward on a water resources development act. the question is, will we be able to clear a list of amendments, some by voice vote, and a further list of more controversial amendments by recorded vote? i'm hoping that is the case. senator vitter and i hope that is the case, that we can get clearance on these packages of amendments. if we do not, we have to decide whether to invoke cloture, which will bring gite a close.
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and i would already bring debate to a close. and if we have to go that way, we have to go that way. but i am very optimistic that we can get these amendments cleared because almost every senator has a stake in this very important legislation. because we have ports that are sometimes on the coast, sometimes they're inland, we have waterways, we all have floods in our states -- not all of us, but most of us, and we have environmental restorations in our state with wetlands conservation. we have work to do on our water infrastructure. our infrastructure in this country has been rated a d +. that is not very heartening. for the greatest country in the world to have a weak infrastructure, frankly, is not good enough. i want to read a list of supporters for our legislation, and i think what people will notice is how broad-based this list is.
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they're either representing workers or businesses, they're businesses themselves, they're businesses that need to ship produce and products. so let me read this. and they're environmental organizations. afl-cio supports us, the american association of port authorities, the american concrete pressure pipe association, the american council of engineering companies, the american farm bureau, the american foundries society, the american public works association, the american road and transportation builders, the american society of civil engineers, american soybean association, associated equipment distribute,associated general contractors, association of equipment manufacturers, the clean water construction coalition, the concrete reinforcing steel institute -- i guess -- i can't even go through it all. it's such a very, very long list. but i'll ask unanimous consent to place it into the record. we have the national association of flood and storm management
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agencies, the national governors' association -- do i have that consent? we have the national stone, sand, a understand gravel association, the national waterways conference, the american institute of architects, the national association of manufacturers, the nature conservancy, the u.s. chamber of commerce, the united brotherhood of carpenters. there's more that i will -- i can't even read all this, it's such a long list. the point is this legislation represents jobs. this legislation represents moving products. this legislation represents flood control. this legislation represents fixing our ports, making sure that we have some reforms here that work well, that make sure that when the army corps sets a project time line, the resource agencies are in the room.
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very, very important. and i have to say as this country sees there's a lot of partisanship going on, this is a bipartisan bill. is my friend wishing to speak on this subject or another? all right. so, the bill made it through the environment committee without a single "no" vote, and since then senator vitter and i have been working with all senators, whether they are on the committee or off the committee, to meet the needs of their states, to work with them. and i think we've done everything in our power to help every state. the last wrda bill was 2007. we used to have a wrda bill every couple of years. but everything has gotten so controversial. and what happened between then and now is a ban on earmarks. mr. president, this bill used to be a bill that listed projects. we can't do that anymore. so what we had to do is figure out a way to fund the needed projects while averting
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earmarks. and we did it by saying if there's a completed corps report, then in fact the project can go forward. and we set up a way for future projects to be handled with the local communities coming forward. so i think we really handled that issue. we focused on flood control. we focused on ports and environmental restoration. we have a piece here that deals with the everglades. if you've never been to the everglades, it's a national treasure. river of grass, that's what it's called. it's a magnificent, amazing, fabulous environment. but it needs to be preserved and protected. when i went there with senator nelson, i went with my spouse, and we went down that -- through the everglades. and all of a sudden we see a deer jump up. the deer is actually living on
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the water on little berms. it's the most remarkable thing i've ever seen. we put wifia in here based on a program we call tifia, which will allow us to help local areas leverage their funds, build these projects quicker. so it goes on and on. we have terrible threats from flooding from places like sacramento, for example, where we're looking at tens of thousands of californians at risk and $7 billion in property, and we say, okay, it's time to get it done. we look at flood protection for the 200,000 residents of fargo, north dakota and morehead, minnesota. they have been fighting rising flood waters in recent weeks. it goes on to texas and all -- i could name literally every state in the union that has something
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at stake. i talked about everglades. will. mr. sanders: will my colleague yield for a moment? mrs. boxer: i will. mr. sanders: i thank the senator from california and the chair for the excellent work she's done on the project. we have in vermont one small concern i hope will be addressed in this bill. in vermont, we suffered through irene and it was a devastating experience for many, many communities in the state, and businesses. the problem that we are having now is that we have state regulations which correctly require that culverts be built that can in fact deal with the real problems of flooding. unfortunately, what fema is prepared to pay for is inadequate infrastructure. culverts, among other things, that will not address the problem if we have to deal with another problem like irene.
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so this is a very modest proposal. senator leahy and i feel strongly about this issue. i know the chairperson is sympathetic. there appears to be some problems on the other side. i very much hope that we can resolve this. mrs. boxer: yes. if i could say, there is an amendment, i will say to my friend through the chair, on our list that we have agreed, senator vitter and i, that there will probably be a vote on this proposal. i ask my staff is that correct? that leahy-sanders amendment on the culverts, it's on the list, is it not? mr. sanders: i have heard there is some objection from the other side to this. mrs. boxer: we're trying to work out the objections, but we will have a vote on it if we cannot. mr. sanders: it's very, very important to senator leahy and i that that be addressed. thank you. mrs. boxer: we're doing everything in our power. this, i think, shows the american people right on the
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floor of the senate the way senators have been working with us. and i want to say to my friend, i'm so proud he's on the environment and public works committee and how he's looked after his state. he has got some very important things in this bill. as a matter of fact, his work on the extreme weather title is very important and would allow us to prevent these terrible floods before they start. yeah, we're looking at things like this in every state. we're raoeug to do everything in our -- we're trying to do everything in our power to meet every senator's needs. sometimes it's kind of like that popup game. something pops up over here and it's okay. but then something pops up over here. it's the legislative fix we're trying to get to here. the legislative fix so every state feels comfortable. this is an important bill. there is no other bill that deals with the everglades. there is no other bill that deals with the chesapeake bay. there is no other bill that's
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possible that would allow us to move forward with these important flood control issues because when we end at earmarks, we had no way to authorize any programs. so this boxer-vitter bill is not just an important bill, it's an essential bill, and we need to move forward. this extreme weather title that i talked about, that senator sanders helped us write, it will require the corps and the national academy of scientists to jointly evaluate options for reducing risks related to future extreme weather events. let me just say that again. right now the corps is not authorized to look ahead and say, you know, given the extreme weather we're having, what is it that we can do across this country to prepare? this study will give us a road map to that. without this bill, we don't have it. without this bill, we have no reforms in the harbor maintenance trust fund. people are paying goo mntenance
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trust fund for dredging our ports, and yet that, the full amount of the harbor maintenance trust fund is not going for those uses. we make moves toward capturing more of those funds. the smaller ports have a good title. the great lakes, the seaports that are large donors, such as los angeles and long beach, make progress. i think it's a win-win. our bill is certainly not perfect. every one of us would write it in a way that benefits our states even more. there's no question. starting from the chairman of the committee. but we have to deal with everybody's issues, everybody's concerns, everybody's problems. and we support 500,000 jobs in this bill. very few bills that come before us could make that claim. so i think we can show the american people that we can work together. we have this one last stage. we're working so hard. i just want to say to my staff who -- they're not even, they're
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still working. my staff and senator vitter's staff have worked nonstop. i'm talking saturday, sunday. i'm talking last night i talked to them, they were still in the office at 11:00. and i just want to praise them. people don't see that. people don't understand that these bills just don't magically appear. in dealing with every senator, i think everyone knows every one of us has very strong personalities. they really care about their states and fight for their states. it's rough to try and preserve everybody's rights and everybody's wishes. we've worked with senators my cull skip in a re -- mikulski in a really good way, senator shelby. senator landrieu has worked hard on this bill and now she has an amendment we're trying to dispose of. i hope we'll get the approval to do that. and then once we finish our work, congressman shoe -- congressman shuster in the house
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needs to pass a bill or could take up our bill and pass it. when i read this list here -- and i didn't even get to all of the names -- this is one of the broadest coalitions i've ever seen behind any piece of legislation. it is a huge and important coalition. it represents america. it's people who work every day at building the infrastructure, utilizing the infrastructure, making sure that our homes are safe from flooding. the national governors association, that's a rarity to have that kind of a list. so all i can say is at these last hours -- and it looks like, gary, do we know yet when we'll have our vote? okay. at this point we're supposed to vote at noon, and we'll be back to you with some further comments. and at this point i would yield the floor so the bill can be reported. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order the senate will resume consideration
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of s. 601, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 44, s. 601, a bill to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 12:00 noon will be equally divided and controlled in the usual form. mrs. boxer: mr. president, while we discuss how we're going to proceed here, i would ask for a quorum call. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: i ask that the time during the quorums be divided equally.
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the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. boxer: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina.
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mrs. hagan: mr. president, i ask to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. hagan: i ask unanimous consent to speak for up to ten minutes as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. hagan: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to discuss the sexual assault crisis that is facing our military and the need to act immediately to address this problem. last week the department of defense released a report estimating that over 26,000 service members -- and this includes men and women -- 26,000 were sexually assaulted in 2012. and this is up from approximately 19,000 in 2010. this is astounding and this is totally unacceptable. even more alarming is the fact that the number of cases actually reported remains just a fraction of the total. there's only 13% of these cases that are actually reported. and let me repeat that. that's 13% of assaults were
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actually reported in 2012. as a member of the armed services committee and a senator from north carolina, home to the third largest military population in the country, i find these statistics appalling. the brave service members who put their lives on the line should not have to worry about their personal safety on bases in the u.s. and around the world. the men and women who are already tasked with so much, who have vowed to serve and protect our country, should feel that they are afforded the same protection in return. but they don't. the stories that i hear from our female service members are astounding. one woman marine was raped by an acquaintance, her fellow marine, in her barracks one night. no one heard her cries for help. the next day she didn't report the assault to her chain of command. the next day, she did report the
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assault to her chain of command. an investigation from launched from there. and while it was underway, from june to january, she was heavily alienated by her peers, she was called derogatory names. her sergeant-major even told her that the assault was her fault because she must have given her rapist the reason to think it was okay. in the end, the official investigation found that her claim was -- quote -- "unfound "unfounded" because there were no witnesses. and she did not know at the time that she should have gone to the hospital and have a rape kit analysis done. other service members, women who have served on forward operating bases in afghanistan, have told me that they'd limit their water intake throughout the day so that they won't have to use the latrines in the middle of the night and by doing so, putting themselves at further risk of being assaulted. no one should ever have to deal with those kinds of concerns,
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especially when they're already putting their lives on the line to protect our nation. the department of defense has reported that half of all service members who were victims of sexual assault say they are actually afraid to report out of fear of retaliation or that their confidentiality will not be maintained. others feel that reporting the crime will jeopardize their military career. they fear that they won't receive opportunities for advancement, opportunities that they have earned through service to our country. this is just totally unacceptable. the men and women of our armed forces deserve far more. we have to deal with this problem once and for all and i'm encouraged that the national defense authorization act of 2013 includes specific directives to reduce the alarming number of assaults that take place and often go unreported. specifically, these provisions include independent review boards to examine how sexual assault cases are handled, the
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creation of a special victims unit, ensuring convicted offenders are permanently barred from the military, and improving how the military collects da daa on this topic, and several other needed provisions. during his confirmation process, secretary of defense chuck hagel said that he was committed to fully implementing these directives, and i urge secretary hagel to report to congress on the progress made as swiftly as possible. but i still believe that congress should and must do more. among the steps that i believe we should consider; first, the creation of a special victims' counsel that would include advocates who can support victims and help them report incidents of sexual assault. as i mentioned, too many victims do not come forward because they're either afraid of retaliation, they don't believe their confidentiality will be maintained, and they do not have faith in the military justice system.
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just like the example of the woman that i described who had been raped, she did not know that she should have had an analysis of rape actually done. these victim advocates would have given her that advice. second, we're fortunate in the senate to have a number of former prosecutors engaged on this issue. over the last 20 years, they and their colleagues have made great strides in handling sexual assault cases in the civilian world and i believe we should take the lessons learned from that process to improve the military's response. lessons including proper training for tackling evidentiary issues and addressing victims' needs. third, commanding officers can overturn verdicts of jury tria trials, as happened recently in the air force earlier this year. these are commanding officers. they are not appellate judges. they are not legally trained.
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they should not have the authority to overturn a verdict. i believe we should review that authority as it applies to sexual assault cases, something defense secretary hagel has indicated should be a priority. and, finally, we need to explore whether the present uniform code of military justice is up to the task of addressing the problem of sexual assault. i believe that both the armed forces and the cause of justice would be well served by a vigorous debate in gressio deban whether sexual assault cases can be effectively handled within the chain of command or whether this process needs to occur independently. significant overhauls of the uniform code of military justice should not be approached light lightly, but we owe it to our service members to think outside the box and consider all possibilities. these men and women of our military cannot wait another day
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and they should not have to wait another day for this problem to be addressed. i urge my colleagues to join me in taking concrete steps to address this issue and to protect the men and women who sacrifice so much for us each and every day. mr. president, i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are. mr. reid: i ask consent it be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, senators boxer and vitter have worked hard for days to come up with a finite list of amendments to complete work on this very important bill, the water resources development act. so i'm going to in just a minute
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ask consent that we postpone the vote scheduled for 12:00 today until 2:30. we'll come back in session, i hope, at 2:15 today, and when we come back in session i want senator boxer, chairman boxer to trort senate -- to report to the senate if they have been able to work out an agreement between the two of them. if they do, i want her to ask the consent. when she asks that consent, if there's agreement, we will work through a number of amendments they have been able to come up with to complete work on this bill. if there is no agreement at 2:15 when she comes in, we're going to vote at 2:30 on cloture. i hope that's not necessary. and we're not going to have any -- i'm objecting on behalf of somebody else. if it's not done, i don't care who objects, we're going to move to cloture. that's what this consent agreement has in it, and
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that's what i believe should be done. it's a lot of work to get this agreement, and i think tentatively it's been done. we know how things work. one senator can block all this. i hope that's not the case. i know the block won't come from our side. senator boxer has the complete confidence of all members of our conference to recognize that she has worked hard on this and has done the right thing, as she always does. so i ask unanimous consent that the vote on the motion to invoke cloture on s. 601 be moved to 2:30 p.m., and i would ask while she's on the floor, the senator from california, the chairman of the committee, is there anything that i've missed in my statement? mrs. boxer: if my friend would yield, through the chair. i think you've covered it. basically what i want to make sure people know as they go to their various conference meetings this afternoon is that we have a very fair list. i think it probably has more
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republican amendments than democratic amendments. we've done everything to reach an agreement here. but i also want to support my leader here. if there is objection to this important list of amendments, we will go straight to cloture, because this -- i just want everyone to understand. without this bill, there will be no more water infrastructure projects, because there's no path forward. since we ended earmarks, this is the one bill that will make sure there's a path forward. and without water infrastructure earmarks, you can't keep the commerce moving at the ports. you can't do flood control. you can't restore the everglades or the chesapeake. so i strongly support what my leader is doing. but i also hope that colleagues will please allow us to move forward, make the cloture vote unnecessary. but we are going to have that cloture vote if necessary at 2:30. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the vote on the motion to invoke cloture
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on s. 601 be moved to 2:30 p.m. this afternoon, if cloture vote is invoked it will be considered as having been invoked at 12:00 thaopb. the presiding thaopb. -- at 12:00 noon. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered.
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